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Tuesday 25th October 2016

Diabetes damages male fertility

3rd May 2007

UK researchers have said diabetes damages a man's sperm and could lessen fertility.


According to the results of tests published in Human Reproduction, DNA in sperm which came from diabetic men showed more signs of damage than in men who did not have the condition. The study is the first of its kind carried out in the UK.

Sperm containing faulty DNA is one cause of male infertility. The repercussions for sperm affected by diabetes are not known.

The research team took 56 sperm samples and compared the quality of DNA in sperm from diabetic men and those without the condition. More than half of the DNA in the sperm from diabetic men was fragmented, in comparison to 32% in sperm from men who did not have the condition.

Dr Allan Pacey of Sheffield University commented: "Although there is no significant evidence that men with diabetes are less fertile, or their children less healthy, it is of some concern that more of their sperm DNA may be damaged."

The subjects in the study had type 1 diabetes. Researchers discovered the same DNA damage in sperm from men who had type 2 diabetes. Diet and weight have been shown to affect the rise of type 2 diabetes, which usually develops in adulthood.

Study author Dr Ishola Agbaje, a research fellow in the Reproductive Medicine Research Group at Queen's University, Belfast, stated: "Diabetes will affect many more men prior to and during their reproductive years."

Matt Hunt, science information manager at Diabetes UK, said the results were "somewhat alarming" and called for further research.


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